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Kedah


Padi Fields at sunset

Alor Setar is the capital, the administration and cultural center of the northern state of Kedah. Kedah is in the northwest corner of the Peninsular Malaysia, and is bounded by Perlis on the north, by the Straits of Malacca on the west, and by Penang and Perak in the south. Islands off Kedah's coasts are the 104 islands of Langkawi (see the special site of Langkawi). Kedah highest peak is the Gunung Jerai, 1200 meters above sea level. 


The padi fields. At the background: the Gunung Jerai

The landscape is dominated by seemingly never ending paddy fields. Kedah (and Perlis) is called the rice bowl of Malaysia. 
As you travel round Kedah, you will see stretches of paddy fields (padi in Malay) and lush green rainforests on highland. Virtually two third of the state is still forested with some opened to the public as forest recreational parks. Undulating hills at the forest edge are covered with rubber, oil palm and fruit plantations. Kedah offers a mix of kampongs, fishing villages, small urban centres and many nature parks.

It's about 45 km south of the Thai border and 100 km north of Penang. It is the last main city you reach if you go via the west coast to Thailand.

Be sure to savour the array of tropical fruits in Kedah. The area around Baling and Changloon in Kedah are famed for local fruits: durians, rambutans, langsat, dukong, cempedak, nangka and even pomelos. Sample Kedah food that is made from rice or spiced with aromatic herbs and hot chillies.

Over 100 magnificent tropical islands are scattered off the west coast of the state. Some, like the Langkawi islands (or Pulau Langkawi)- isle of myths and legends, is one of Asia’s best tropical island destination - a paradise for sun, sea and nature lovers. The beauty of the islands are as spell-binding as the legends that surrounds them Don't leave Langkawi without exploring her mangrove forests and her rainforests.

The prominence of Kedah as a maritime Kingdom dates back as early as the 1st Century AD. History enthusiast should not miss a visit to the Bujang Valley, the Ancient wonders of Kedah, where historical evidence of the place gives an insight to the state's rich historical heritage - the Kingdom of Kedah, which was once part of the fabled Kingdom of Langkasuka.

 

The prominence of Kedah as a maritime Kingdom dates back as early as the 1st Century AD. History enthusiast should not miss a visit to the Bujang Valley, the Ancient wonders of Kedah, where historical evidence of the place gives an insight to the state's rich historical heritage - the Kingdom of Kedah, which was once part of the fabled Kingdom of Langkasuka.
 
Alor Setar has a population  of 300.000 people. The city is a major center for trade in rice and rubber. It's also the residence of the Sultan of Kedah. Alor Setar is also home to many old buildings still standing in their original form beside other relics of Kedah's past.

"Alor" or more correctly, "alur" is Malay for a groove, furrow or main stream of a channel. In Tamil "alur" means drain. "Star"  or "setar" is a plant with small, sour fruit (Bouea macrophylla) also known as either "kundang" or "remia" in Malay. The uniqueness of these fruits is that when you split the seed, each part is purple in color. 

The capital of Kedah is approachable from all parts of the Peninsula by all transport means. The West Coast South Highway (from the Thai border till Singapore) brings you by car to Alor Setar. The airport is just a few kilometers away. The main train station is a few minutes' walk from the center. The main bus terminal, Shahab Perdana is a bit outside of town unless you arrive from Butterworth (UTC or HRB companies) in which case you are right in the city center.

Balai Nobat 
One of the towns main attractions is the open-air market that peddles a variety of local handicrafts. Some modern structures that carry historical significance include Balai Nobat, the Balai Besar, the State Museum and the State Art Gallery. Its rustic, peaceful surroundings provide an atmosphere that anyone would enjoy.

 

Menara Alor Setar

It's the second largest telecom tower in Malaysia. It's located in the heart of Alor Setar.
At the is a a restaurant situated. 
This tower is a prominent and modern landmark that signifies the rapid development in the state of Kedah. It has two functions now: telecommunication tower and a tourist attraction. You can take the elevator to the top for a sensational view of Alor Setar and you can even see Butterworth and Thailand.

Masjid Zahir (Zahir Mosque)

Officially opened in 1912, this state Mosque is an architectural landmark as it is one of the largest and one of the oldest mosques in Malaysia. 
Built in the tradition of the Moorish architecture, it has numerous arches and columns that are an epitome of grandeur. 

The state of Kedah's reading competition is held in the premises of the Mosque. The competitors are reading than from the Koran.

Pekan Rabu 

"Pekan Rabu" which literally means Wednesday Market which is located between City Plaza and Medan Bandar on Jalan Tunku Ibrahim in the middle of Alor Setar. The complex is well known among the local population and tourists from outside Kedah. The business complex is not only the pride of Malay entrepreneurs in Kedah but also the pride of all Malay's in Kedah. Moreover the Prime Minister, Dato' Seri Dr. Mahathir, once was a trader in Pekan Rabu. An interesting market offering all sorts of Thai products and also prayer items.

Bus Terminal

This is the main bus terminal of Alor Setar and is located in Shahab Perdana, which is some distance to the Alor Setar town centre. This terminal provides services to and from most locations in Malaysia. To get there the best way is by intercity bus or taxis.

Outside  Alor Setar:

Gunung Jerai Known in the olden days as Kedah Peak, this mountain, at 1200 metres above sea level, is a massive limestone outcrop and the highest peak in the State of Kedah. From its summit, one can get spectacular view of the rolling rice fields, the islands of Penang and Langkawi. 
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Bukit Hijau Recreational Forrest Situated in the heart of Gunung Inas Virgin Forrest Reserve in Baling, this recreational forrest is untouched and the one can find abundant varieties of flora and fauna. Picnicking at its sever-tier crystal clear waterfall is another major attraction.
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Pantai Merdeka The State's favourite beach on the mainland. It is situated in the Kuala Muda destrict.
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Taman Rekreasi Gunung Keriang Situated 12 kilometres from Alor Setar, juggle tracking and camping are the most favourite activies of its visitors. Cave explorers would find the nearby Gunung Keriang an added adventure that is worth an experience.
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Pedu Lake

About 80 kilometres from Alor Setar and only 5 kilometres from the Malaysian-Thai border, it offers a back-to-basics vacation with international-class resort accomodation. Secluded within the greenery of the thick tropical rainforest are traditional villages-styled chalets complete with modern facilities.


Padu Lake

Gunung Keriang is a limestone outcrop in the middle of flatland of padi (rice) fields in Alor Setar. It just seem to come out of nowhere with no surrounding hills or other formations. Just 10 minutes drive from downtown Alor Setar it is very accessible and part of the hill area have been developed as a recreation area. You can practically drive right to the foot of some climbing routes.
The history (legend) of Gunung Keriang is quite an interesting one. It is reputed to be alive and rotates every year until the English pegs it.



  Strategically located in the heart of Alor Setar, Holiday Villa Alor Setar is the only prestigious hotel, catering towards the exacting needs of the business and leisure traveller. The 160-room hotel features modern conveniences which include a wide spectrum of dining, entertainment, meeting and recreational facilities. The hotel offers a choice of outlets for your dining and entertainment pleasure.
24-hour Lagenda Coffee House
Chinese Restaurant-with private rooms and karaoke
 

Rooms from US 67 per night

Information/reservation

Holiday Villa <click>



  Mutiara Pedu Lake and Golf Resort Kedah stands majestically on two islands in the 75-square-kilometer man-made Pedu Lake surrounded by one of the world's oldest tropical rainforests. A 20-meter bridge links the north and south islands. Mutiara Pedu Lake and Golf Resort Kedah presents a serene atmosphere, perfect for a relaxed holiday. It offers international-class comforts in a traditional setting. .

 

Rooms from US 44 per night

Information/reservation

Mutiara Pedu Lake <click>



 

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